THE MILITARY WRITINGS OF LEON TROTSKY
Volume 4: 1921-1923
The Red Army on a Peace Footing
Orders, Circulars, Telegrams, etc.
By the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic, December 22, 1922, No.2848, Moscow
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The strength of the Red Army and its most profound difference from the bourgeois armies lies in its moral cohesion and the comradely solidarity which is engendered by unity in a great revolutionary aim.
A commander is a senior, more experienced comrade. A chief is an authoritative leader and teacher. Discipline is based on consciousness and is inseparably linked with respect for the human dignity of every Red Army man. Discipline may be strict, even severe, but may not be humiliating. Everything that, directly or indirectly, disrupts or undermines the unity of the Red Army must be ruthlessly rooted out. But such facts, a heritage from the slavish past, continue to be met with in certain units.
Rough treatment of subordinates, with theeing-and-thouing, ordering to shut up, and swearing, this expression of caste-ridden militarism has no place in the Red Army. The commander and the commissar of a unit are themselves primarily responsible for drunkenness among theft subordinates. Finally, cases of the use of violence against subordinates, which testify that serfowning habits have survived into our day, however isolated such cases may be, must be given very close attention, strictly investigated and ruthlessly punished. Anyone guilty of hitting a subordinate is to be sent before the Revolutionary Military Tribunal!
A commission of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic under the chairmanship of the Deputy Head of the Political Directorate, Comrade Pavlovsky, has established that extremely unhealthy and in some cases directly criminal events have taken place in the 33rd Infantry Division.
- In the 99th Regiment and the Artillery Battalion School there have been during the last two months several cases of organised heavy drinking by the commanding and political personnel.
- This heavy drinking took place before the eyes of subordinates, and was paid for out of the resources of the unit concerned, including those received from its patrons.
- In the 98th Regiment the higher commanders connived at the attendance of political workers and commanders who were drunk at a ceremonial meeting to celebrate the anniversary of the October Revolution.
- Cases of rough treatment of Red Army men were often observed.
- Instances of commanders boxing soldiers’ ears were established, with the guilty by no means suffering appropriate punishment.
I order that:
- The commander and the military commissar of the 33rd Division are to be removed from their posts and brought before the Revolutionary Military Tribunal, on a charge of connivance.
- The commander and commissar of the 99th Regiment and the commander and commissar of the Artillery Battalion School are to be removed from their posts and brought before the Revolutionary Military Tribunal for conduct incompatible with the spirit of the Red Army and the duty of military leaders.
- The commander and commissar of the 98th Regiment are to be removed from their posts, for having brought the Red Army into discredit, and are to be placed at the disposal of the Staff and the Political Directorate of the Military District.
- The Revolutionary Military Tribunal is to establish through investigation who the other guilty men are, so that they may be subjected to the appropriate penalties.
- The Revolutionary Military Tribunal is to institute legal proceedings against commanders who have tolerated physical abuse of their subordinates.
I bring to the notice of the command of the Volga Military District the fact that appropriate measures were not taken in good time, and I demand that greater vigilance be shown henceforth.
This order is to be published in printed form and to be read to all separate military units.
Last updated on: 28.12.2006